Monday 27 November 2017

Matthew Offord seeks to justify Conservative Party position on Animal rights and Animal Sentience

Hendon MP Matthew Offord has released the following statement regarding animal rights on his website.

There has been a lot of misinformation spread about this specific matter, so I would like to clarify a few facts.
First of all, there was not a debate or vote on the principle of whether animals have feelings. I am proud that the UK has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and, as part of this, the principle of animal sentience is already enshrined in our own laws, as you will find in s.1(4) and s.4(1)(a-d) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The EU (Withdrawal) Bill will convert the existing body of direct EU animal welfare laws to become UK laws. Most of these EU laws relate to farmed animals and many were passed after Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union came into effect.
We should not be looking towards the EU as a benchmark for animal welfare standards. EU law currently permits bullfighting, foie grois production, fur importation and the transportation of live animals in horrendous conditions. The Animal Protection Index, maintained by World Animal Protection, rates the UK's formal recognition of animal sentience as grade A. Other EU countries such as France, Italy and Spain are graded C.
Already, this Government is showing its commitment to animal welfare with policies such as compulsory CCTV in abattoirs, banning microbeads, five year sentences for animal cruelty, and the banning of ivory in the UK.
On a personal note, as a vegetarian of over 35 years and someone who has consistently raised issues surrounding animal welfare standards, I would invite anyone to look at my Parliamentary history on this issue, which I believe speaks for itself.

Offord released his statement after much adverse publicity for Conservative MP's following a recent vote that animals are not sentient beings.

Personally I find Mr Offord's statement rather misleading. He says little on the subject beyond "I'm a veggie so I am Ok". Without wishing to sink to the usual banal comment that is thrown at such times, we all know cases of famous politicians who were vegetarians who were most definitely not OK.

I personally believe that animals should be treated with the highest levels of care, compassion and dignity wherever possible. I think we should have a presumption of sentience as there is really not a good reason, other than to allow cruelty and bad practice to do otherwise. I am upset with Offord as I had previously thought he was sound on compassion towards animals. He may say "look at my record". The sad truth is that we looked at how he voted in this case. If you care about animal welfare, then you really shouldn't be surprised that the party of foxhunting are keen to legislate in this manner.

There is a petition online to try and get the Tories to change their policy. Here is the text

UPDATE: Michael Gove has promised to make “any necessary changes” to UK law to recognize that animals can feel pain, however we can't trust that we will get the animal rights that this country wants until something is in law. We need to keep up the pressure on the Government to ensure animal sentience is put into law.
Under EU law all animals are considered sentient (meaning they are beings that feel pain). This law is there to protect the welfare of animals. MP Caroline Lucas had submitted an amendment clause (NC30) to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, which sought to transfer the EU Protocol on animal sentience into UK law, so animals continue to be recognised as sentient beings under domestic law.
Not allowing this amendment could see animal welfare go backwards instead of forwards allowing unethical exploitation of animals for hunting, battery farming and inhumane slaughtering for food.
It flies in the face of commonly held scientific belief that animals do feel pain and have emotions.
This is not a matter of left or right wing politics it's about protecting animal rights and coming together to ensure that animals maintain sentient status in UK law, to protect animal welfare. As Ben Fogle said "dogs are much smarter and more emotional than politicians believe them to be."
The UK is still among the highest animal testing nations on the planet with 3.9 million testing procedures carried out here in 2016. Regardless of what has been claimed about how good our animal laws are we are ranked the 7th highest animal testing nation. I do not trust that the animal welfare we are petitioning for will be delivered by our government without the EU Protocol on animal sentience as a basis for improving animal welfare laws moving forwards."There can only be one reason to deny animal sentient status, and that is to exploit them"
If you want to sign this petitions, the link is here.

No comments: